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NEW: WPRO Program Director Schwalb Out

Thursday, January 02, 2014


In the latest development in the John DePetro saga, WPRO program director Craig Schwalb is out at the station.

Schwalb has been named Program Director at parent company Cumulus' station WABC in New York; WABC's Tony Mascaro will take Schwalb's spot at WPRO.

DePetro Fallout?

Schwalb, who had been at WPRO since 2012 when he took over Paul Giammarco's seat, has been silent on the DePetro issue since it heated up last month.

DePetro's on-air comments in September about female union activists prompted the formation of the "For Our Daughters" campaign to get advertiser Alex and Ani to sever ties with the show; and DePetro apologized in early December.  

However, things heated up when Governor Lincoln Chafee called for DePetro to be fired the following week, and growing number of elected officials signed the For Our Daugthers pledge that they would boycott WPRO as long as DePetro remained on air.  

Former local talk show host Andrew Gobeil reached out to Schwalb for comment for an article for GoLocalProv on December 16th on the DePetro situation. Gobeil wrote, "A text from [Schwalb] about the issue today said simply, “Decline to comment.”  

DePetro has not been on air since mid-December.  According to a station receptionist, DePetro is scheduled to return on Monday.

See below for GoLocal's coverage of the DePetro controversy to date.  

Related Slideshow:
Infamous Talk Radio Controversies

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Arbitron Ratings Scandal

In 2008, radio host John DePetro found himself in the midst of a ratings controversy.  The Boston Herald reported,

The briefly stellar ratings of controversy-dogged-talkmeister John DePetro’s Providence radio show tanked yesterday after a whiff of scandal forced Arbitron to reissue its spring survey of listener-dial habits.

In the 6 to 10 a.m. weekday slot occupied by the self-proclaimed “Independent Man” on WPRO-AM (630), “the reissue ranked WPRO at number nine” among valued 25- to 54-year-old listeners, “down from the number four rank in the original release,” program manager Paul Giammarco and station market manager Barbara Haynes announced in a joint statement.

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Candidate Name-Calling

DePetro was fired from Boston radio station WRKO in 2006 for calling then-gubernatorial Rainbow Party candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian." 

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Office Scuffle

The Providence Journal's Mike Stanton reported on an altercation in 2009 between DePetro and radio host Ron St. Pierre.

DePetro said he was hit -- and scratched -- in the eye with a balled up paper with a staple thrown at him by St. Pierre.  

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Buddy's Return - to Radio


After five years in prison for racketeering conspiracy from 2002 to 2007, former Mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci returned to the public eye with a radio show on WPRO.  

While controversial, Cianci's continued popularity has people wondering if Buddy might just make another run for Mayor in 2014.  

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Chafee's Talk Radio Ban

Upon taking office in 2011, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee announced that he would not appear on talk radio shows and barred state employees in agencies and departments that report to him from doing the same during work hours.  

Governor Chafee is among the elected officials who have signed the "For Our Daughters" pledge.  

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Dennis and Callahan

WEEI sports radio hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan were suspended in 2003 when they referred to an escaped gorilla as a "Metco gorilla" waiting for a bus to Lexington -- with Metco being bus program that buses inner-city students to suburban schools.

Boston's WCVB reported that advertisers Dunkin' Donuts and Blue Cross pulled back station support in light of the incident.  

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Severin Suspended

WTKK's Jay Severin was fired for making comments about sleeping with female employees over the years.  

Radio Ink reported on Greater Media's reaction to the incident.  

"Greater Media today ended its relationship with Jay Severin. Our company has always encouraged a free and open dialogue on a variety of issues and topics, and we will continue to be guided by that principle. But we also demand that our on-air talent maintain an appropriate level of civility, and adhere to a standard that respects our listeners and the public at large.

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Imus' Racial Remarks

in 2007, nationally syndicated talk show host Don Imus called Rutgers women's basketball players "nappy-headed hos."  Imus was suspended -- then fired -- by CBS Radio.  

Five years later, Imus was back on the national radio circuit, as reported by New Jersey.com

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Rush Limbaugh

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is no stranger to controversy; his latest remarks prompted the Democratic National Committee to call on Republican leaders to boycott the Daily Caller, which defended Limbaugh's remarks in an article entitled, "Liberals want to stop men from checking out women." 


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PO Taxpayer

It sounds like he got a promotion .... Not pushed out ....

Michael Trenn

Chafee has a nerve calling for anybody to be fired. He is never going to worry about where his next buck is coming from.

paul zecchino

Michael Trenn -

Agree. People never for one second forget those who denied them the means of livelihood, especially doing something they love. They never forget it and in fact become invigorated by the injustice to expose those who fear the truth.

lupe fiasco

Can't stand the fire everybody mentality.

G Godot

These local talk show hacks are pikers. Doesn't mean that they should be fired every time trust fund boy gets his knickers in a knot, but don't waste a lot of time with them. Howard Lawrence "CAAAAAAAAAAAAH" forever. WEEI in Boston is worth your while.

Michael Trenn

G Godot: Agreed wholeheartedly. I listen to Howie Caaaaah most of the way home from work, until the Worcester station signal peters out. I like catching Michael Graham during the day.

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